Every year we celebrate Flipper’s birthday 3 times. Well it’s not as luxury as it sounds though. The first celebration is always in the exact birthday where we celebrate it with small cake right away after Flipper wakes up in the morning. That’s it. Sometimes we also celebrate it with dinner with grandpa, grandma and a couple of family friends. She will get present from family circle in this day.
After that, there will be celebration in Kindergarten. In Flipper’s Kindergarten, the teacher always celebrate children’s birthday with some ritual and the birthday kid will get a crown and small present from the Kindergarten. The parents don’t need to attend this ritual but if they like, they can donate cookies, cake, ice or small toys to all children in the group. This celebration can take in the exact birthday or days afterward.
The third one is the ‘real’ celebration, where Flipper gets involved in arranging it and this post is talking about this. And since Flipper just celebrated her 6th birthday a week ago, I will post some pictures from the celebration too. So, this is how we make it step by step, hope it useful for others 😉
1. Ask if Flipper wants to have a special theme. For example for her third birthday she wanted to have elephant theme and then princess for the fourth and unicorn for the fifth birthday. This year she wanted to have a native Indian theme party.
For me, the safe time to get to know about the theme is 1-3 months before the birthday. Sure, I can ask her a year before but when it still takes long, kids tend to change their mind about the theme constantly. So yes, better get it fixed at least 3 months before, especially if you want to do the DIY decoration. For a ready-set party decorations, don’t bother about time, you can buy it in the last minutes.
2. Choose the date to celebrate. It doesn’t have to be exact on the birthday. We usually celebrate it one to two weeks after Flipper’s exact birthday.
3. Discuss how many children will be invited. When you know how many people will be invited, it’s easier to decide if you what to celebrate it at home, at a restaurant, park or somewhere else. I always limit the invitation though, no more than 10 children.
4. Discuss who will be invited. This is crucial. Keep in mind that YOU don’t want your mom decides who will come to YOUR birthday party, so does your child! Ask the birthday kid, which friends she likes to invite. Some moms said their children are too young to choose birthday guests, too young to choose things in general. Probably, if they are under 3 years old.
We teach Flipper to make up her mind early enough. Not only about what to eat, what to wear, which color she likes to have but also about her social life. I still remember, once, a mom asked if her son could come to our place to have play date with Flipper. I said, “fine with me but I will ask Flipper first”. That mom laughed and said, “I won’t do that, kids can say whatever they want, we don’t need to believe them. You are the mom, you decide.” It’s true, I am the mom, but who will do the play date?! NOT ME! I’m sure, it’s not about being choosy in friendship but children are just like adults. We can’t get along with every person we know and it doesn’t mean that we hate or dislike them… We just don’t clicked each other. Believe it or not, it happens to the children as well.
Back to the birthday invitation, as Flipper younger, after mentioned 2 names, Flipper said she had no idea anymore because in fact she wanted to invite all children she knows! Here I try to guide her like: how about Nancy? She’s always nice to you. Or Debby? She likes elephant as you do. That’s do the trick and Flipper will always have the last word to decide.
This year, Flipper chose her guest without any help from me and there’s a lil drama about it. There was a girl, let say Kiki, who is always invited in Flipper’s birthday before and her mom is a good friend of mine too. This year Flipper didn’t want to invite her because she said, this year is the last year in Kindergarten, so she wanted to invite her Kindergarten friends only. However she also mentioned that she likes to have additional private party in an ice cream parlor with Kiki later, which is a good idea.
As I told Kiki’s mom that Kiki is not invited, I could see that she’s pretty upset. The additional party special for Kiki didn’t soothe her either. Even I did’t owe her explanation (For me, who and who aren’t invited at a party is 100 % private thing from the host!), I told her anyway what is the reason and she somehow couldn’t accept it. She said Flipper will have party in Kindergarten anyway, with the whole friends… which is true but I’m sure she also understands that it’s two different things. Anyway, even she couldn’t accept the reason, she had to accept the decision. I can’t help.
To be honest there are some kids I dislike with some reasons but if Flipper wanted to invite them anyway, I have to compromise. In another side, there are some kids I wanted to invite because I find them nice or because their moms are my good friends… but then again, I can’t decide it 100%, it’s not my party.
5. Where to celebrate the party. I don’t mind celebrating Flipper’s birthday at home even it means more works. But when it’s more than7 kids, then I prefer to celebrate it somewhere else.
There are many places to book to celebrate children birthday party for example museum (most museums here have special program to celebrate children birthday), farm, indoor playground, children amusement park, bakery (children baking class), and Kindergarten which have children birthday program (Flipper’s Kindergarten doesn’t have that) or simply in the public playground nearby, all depends on the budget and what kind of activity the birthday kid like to have
6. The Food. Birthday cake is a must and then some fingers food and fruits. Depends on the time, if the party ended later than 5PM, I will also make light dinner like chicken nugget, fish nugget or sausage with breads or french Fries with raw veggies.
Except for birthday cake, I don’t always make the food by myself. For this year I also make mini muffins and strawberries popsicle though. Beside that, there were store-bought donuts, fruits+cheese skewers, chips, and alphabets biscuits.
7. Make a birthday present wish list. Here where we live, the parents of the invited children always ask what to give to the birthday kid. For this I make an online wish list and send the link to the parents. They can delete the item from the list once they purchase it.
Last year, there was this mom, she asked for the wish list. I gave her the wish list. BUT then she said she wanted to give Flipper something else. I said, go ahead (The wish list is just an idea, not a must). BUT then she said, the thing she wanted to buy is expensive and she didn’t want to buy it alone by herself. Err… I was confused and tell her to take a look the wish list again because nothing expensive there (the normal price range for children birthday pressie here is between €5 to €20). This mom insisted she wanted to buy that expensive thing (duh!) and (gladly) at the end she found another mom who could share the bill to buy that stuff together.
This year, the same mom asked for the wish list. I gave her the wish list. She said she wanted to give Flipper a book. I said there are several books in wish list. She said she wanted to give different book. I said yea, go ahead (why bother to ask about the wish list anyway?!). So she bought this book for Flipper. Nice book from ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ which we unfortunately already have. Actually we have complete set of the books already. But it’s okay, for Flipper the pressie is not an issue. The good time with her friends is the most important thing.
8. Make the invitation as the theme. You can make DIY invitation with the birthday kid or at least let the kid to sign (write her/his name) on the card. In the invitation it’s mentioned the time, place, what to bring (e.g: hat, sun scream) and telephone number to confirm if the invited child can attend or not.
9. Birthday Decorations as the theme. DIY or store-bought, you decide. We make some and buy some. Some decorations for birthday are: birthday banner, cupcake topper, balloon, garland, themed plates, cups and napkins and… and… and… the idea and creativity is unlimited.
In Flipper’s 3 rd birthday party, Flipper and I made quite plenty decorations with elephant theme and they are quite cute, you can check it out here. For 6th birthday this year, we didn’t make many stuffs because the celebration took place at a party hall in a Kindergarten (not Flipper’s Kindergarten) and we traveled a lot weeks before, so we didn’t think so much about birthday decor.
10. Goodie Bags. Goodie bag for the little guest is not a must but it would be nice if they can bring something home after the party. It doesn’t need to be many stuffs or expensive things inside. Sweets and balloon is also enough.
This year Flipper said she wanted to give crayons for her friends, so to make it complete I also put a small note we bought in Japan in the goodie bags. And of course, sweets too 😉
11. WhatsApp Group. Here it’s also normal to have a WhatsApp group for the birthday. The host, in this case I, made WA group 2 days before the celebration and invite the parents from the little guests to join the group. In the group, the parents discuss how to get to the party venue. Some parents offered a ride to bring some kids go there and others parents offered a ride to bring the kids back home. I also share the Amazon wish list link in this group because it’s too complicated to write it on the invitation. And the most important function of the WA group is to share the birthday photos. Parents love to see it. The WA group will be deleted after 3-5 days.
So I guess that’s it. You can throw a birthday party as simple as you wish but it’s also possible to make it complicated as you can. The most important is that the birthday kids know that the party is for them and not for the parents and that they have fun in their big day.
Here some more photos from Flipper’s ‘Native American’ 6th birthday party: